By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor
KANSAS CITY — BFF stands for many things in today’s parlance, but among the best is Bright Futures Fund, which provides need-based scholarships to families so that their children can attend Catholic grade schools. On Oct. 30, about 325 Kansas City Chiefs and Bright Futures Fund fans gathered at the View at Briarcliff (Courtyard Marriott) to watch their football team battle the Indianapolis Colts on the road and raise funds for BFF scholarships.
The Bright Futures Fund hoped to raise $50,000 for scholarships.
The fund was established in 1989 as the Central City School Fund, providing need-based scholarship to offset tuition costs for low income families in Kansas City’s urban center. As time passed poverty became more wide-spread and it was seen that rural families had their own challenges. Today, the Bright Futures Fund assists families at Holy Cross and Our Lady of Hope and, in the second year of a pilot program, St. John Francis Regis, St. Mary-Montrose and St. Mary-Nevada schools.
As fans approached the room they could see tables against the walls, laden with silent auction items, so many in fact that there were fans still perusing and discussing which items to bid on at kickoff. Some of the items included a Mayor Sly James signature Bow Tie; T-Bones and Mavericks tickets and packages; baseballs autographed by Luke Hochevar, Jason Vargas and Brad Ziegler; footballs autographed by Will Shields, Derrick Johnson, Jamaal Charles and K-State’s head football coach Bill Snyder; artwork; jewelry; custom made Chief’s rosaries; a Kansas City Steak package, and a tuition voucher for St. Michael the Archangel High School slated to open in the fall of 2017.
Former Chiefs and Ambassadors, took turns auctioning off Live Auction items during commercial breaks and game time-outs. Bobby Bell (Linebacker), Ken Kremer (Nose Tackle), Tim Grunhard (Center), Walter White (Tight End) and Jan Stenerud (Placekicker) along with several other folks took turns auctioning off items including autographed Wade Davis and Danny Duffy baseballs from the 2015 World series, an autographed Jamaal Charles jersey, Sporting KC and Kansas City Chiefs packages, Golfing with Bishop Johnston and Tim Grunhard, dinner with the Bishop and eight guests, dinner for 8 at Lidia’s with Bobby Bell, and more. An autographed Alex Smith jersey caught the eyes of two little boys, who proceeded to plead and beg their grandfather to bid on it. How could he resist? After all, grandfather was Anthony Simone, who revived the old Kansas City area high school football award established by Dr. D.M. Nigro in the 1930s. Simone and his wife revived the award in honor of their son Tommy, who was killed in a car wreck in 1983. The Simone Award goes to the area’s top high school football player.
Simone had the winning bid, $625, and two happy and excited grandsons.
The auctioneers cracked jokes during their stint at raising bids. Grunhard, while auctioning off the Golf game with the Bishop and himself, told the audience, “If you play golf with Bishop Johnston, you’ll get half of Purgatory knocked off!”
Quarterback Alex Smith went down in the first quarter, came back in the second and went down again. He left the field, and didn’t return for the second half, with reports of a concussion. Nick Foles, the backup quarterback, won the day. The final score was Chiefs 30, Colts 14.
And it was a winner for Bright Futures Fund also. Director Rebecca Quinlan reported that BFF raised $44,361.80, “the most we have ever made from the Chiefs Watch Party!”
The mission of BFF is comprised of four pillars: Spirituality (Students are given the opportunity to develop a relationship with Christ and share that with the community). Community (Using our faith-based values to advance social justice for those that live, work and serve in our community). Family (reinforcing values that strengthen family identity, connection and resolve while recognizing the sacrifice given by families along their journey). Education (Creating the conditions where learning can thrive, while providing the opportunities for students to reach their potential and give back to the community).
Quinlan added, “We believe that these four pillars are the foundation our children are receiving!”
The Bright Futures Fund also receives support from your gift to the Annual Catholic Appeal.